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Three Important Steps to Making a Splash as a Substitute Teacher

03/365 Splishy splashy *Explored*
-mrsraggle- / / CC BY-ND

Let's be honest: subbing is not always the easiest job in the world. But being a substitute teacher is not about taking the easy path. It is about putting our best professional feet forward in an effort to ensure that educational excellence continues even in the unfortunate event that a classroom teacher is ill or facing a personal crisis. (Or away on a holiday. Let's not be completely pessimistic!)

Although the following steps might sound as if they might take a bit of extra time or personal effort, remember that they are worth the investment.

Three Important Steps to Making a Splash as a Substitute Teacher

  • Step One: Remember that Confidence is Key. Walk into the classroom with your head up, eyes clear, shoulders back, and smile pasted on. Nothing shakes the foundations of classroom would-be trouble makers like the cheerful, firm confidence of a smiling adult.
  • Step Two: Be Proactive. Carefully think through the day's activities, anticipating trouble spots and planning for them in advance. Having extra activities and games on hand in case of down time is an absolute necessity. Furthermore, the best classroom management techniques are proactive ones.
  • Step Three: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Nothing is more frustrating to a classroom teacher than to return after an absence with no idea what has taken place in the interim. Leave detailed communication through whatever means are at your disposal (e-mails, sticky notes, etc.) detailing what activities were accomplished, who had special questions or required extra help, and other details about the day. This can be time-consuming, but it's worth the extra investment, even if it requires that you stay longer at the end of the day than you had planned. Teachers will love you for it.
Making a splash as a substitute is important not only because it may lead to your being requested more often by a classroom teacher or a school but also because, as most of us can attest from our own school day experiences, memorable lessons are not generally considered memorable because of their content, but because memorable lessons come from memorable teachers.
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